Orienteering has a special relationship with China—the compass was invented in the Middle Kingdom thousands of years ago, and the compass sport of orienteering now has a huge following in the country.
One of the ancient civilisations of the world, China has risen to the world stage with its stellar economic development and rising global influence. Orienteering in China is now practised both in a military and civilian capacity, with regular and frequent activities throughout the country and worldwide.
As one of the largest countries of the world, China has a variety of terrains for you to explore through orienteering, from the southern tropics to the northern steppes, from the eastern seas to the western plateau. Combine your orienteering pursuits with a cultural trip to make your visit a transformative experience in Asia.
- China has many provinces and megacities, not to mention smaller cities, so unless you have weeks or months to explore, it’s better to limit yourself to a certain region e.g. Pearl River Delta
- Each province has its distinctive culture. The culture and language of Guangdong, for example, is very different to that of Beijing. The sights will be very different too.
- Cultural sights are to be found in every city, every village, usually village halls and temples. Examples of very distinctive villages include the Tulou of Fujian and Lijiang, Yunnan.
- Provinces and regions with substantial non-Han population, e.g. Tibet, have substantially different cultural and natural sights from central and coastal China.
- In central coastal China, e.g. around Shanghai, Hangzhou and Suzhou, the canals and gardens are a definite must-see. Water culture is important in this part of China.
- Drama, with different styles e.g. Peking opera, Cantonese opera
- Drink tea in a teahouse
The staple food is rice in the south, noodles in the north. Potatoes are also widely produced and consumed.
There are a lot of different cuisines throughout China. Peking cuisine, Teochew cuisine and Guangdong cuisine, of course, are all very different. For example, dim sum (small portions of steamed food and snacks) are distinctive of Guangdong cuisine.
Pork, chicken and duck are common meat in many Chinese cuisines, in addition to fish in the coastal areas. Mutton is especially to be found in Inner Mongolia.
The easiest way to find vegan food is to find Buddhist restaurants in the cities and around monasteries. Note that Chinese vegan and vegetarian food differs a lot from that of Western countries, with a heavy emphasis on imitation meats mostly made of tofu.
- Snacks (but pay attention to the biosecurity laws of your country, so don’t bring meat or fresh vegetables)
Virtual and guided tours on Metrunner
Good to know
Major airports in Mainland China:
- Beijing now has two major international airports, the older Capital (PEK) and the newer Daxing ( is the largest airport in Indonesia.
- Shanghai also has two major international airports, the older Hongqiao (SHA) and newer Pudong (PVG).
- Guangzhou New Baiyun Airport (CAN)
- Hong Kong SAR
- Macau SAR
- North Korea
- Myanmar (Burma)
- India (not open to tourists)
Direct sleeper trains
- Hong Kong SAR
- Macau SAR
- South Korea
You likely need a visa to get into China, only a few nationalities have visa-free access.
The national language is Mandarin (Putonghua).
Regional languages/dialects include Cantonese, Teochew, Hokkien, Hakka and many more.
Chinese, Tibetan and Burmese languages belong to the same larger family of Sino-Tibetan languages.
Most languages in China are tonal, for example Mandarin with 4 tones.
- Chinese society is collective, with strong emphasis on the extended family, lineage and community. The Confucian humanist philosophy is an important basis of Chinese culture.
- Chinese culture places a heavy emphasis on social harmony.
- Face (similar to personal honour) is very important.
- Eat with chopsticks.
- Superstition. Fear of the number 4 (related to the fear of death).
- Chinese folk religion is an integral part of traditional Chinese life. Buddhism and Taoism are also influential. Christianity, Islam and Judaism also exist in China.
- Electric plug: The Chinese standard socket is the I (Australian) type, but many places also have A (North American) and C (European) sockets. Power supply is 220V/50Hz
- Currency: Chinese Yuan (CNY), written as ¥